Dawud (David) and Sulayman (Solomon) were two prophets who were granted magnificent kingdoms and wisdom by Allah. Dawud succeeded Talut (Saul) as king of the Israelites, and the Psalms was revealed to him. He was granted eloquent speech and a melodious voice; birds and mountains used to exalt Allah alongside him. Allah further taught him how to fashion coats of armor, using iron, to assist on the battlefield.
Sulayman was the son of Dawud, and succeeded him to the throne. He had an even more fabulous kingdom, and his era marked the most glorious days in the history of the Israelites. Sulayman was given command over the wind, and taught the language of the birds; he had mastery over the jinn who constructed landmarks for him, dived in the sea to collect pearls, and performed various other tasks.
- Eloquent speech is a gift from Allah
The ability to speak fluently, and express oneself articulately, is a gift from Allah. The prophets were under obligation to communicate His word to the people, so they had to be good speakers to fulfill this task. Dawud, in particular, spoke very eloquently, as Allah says, “We strengthened his kingdom, and We gave him wisdom and a decisive way of speaking.” (38:20) Speaking with confidence and clarity is a natural trait of true leaders.
- Consider both sides of an argument
Once, Dawud was tested by Allah through two litigants who approached him in privacy. One of them claimed that the other had deprived him of his only ewe, and added that to his existing ninety-nine ewes, at which point, Dawud passed a ruling in favor of the speaker without listening to the other’s argument. He then realized he had been tested by Allah, and immediately repented for passing a hasty judgment. In daily life situations, we tend to be judgemental, and often rush to conclusions. This little episode reminds us to always listen to both sides to any argument, weigh them accordingly, and pass a disinterested judgment after considering all evidence.
- Beseech Allah for His blessings
There is nothing wrong with striving for Allah’s blessings in this life, as long as one does not lose sight of the hereafter. You can ask Allah to provide you with wealth and resources without incurring any blame. Consider the following earnest prayer made by Sulayman, “My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me. Indeed, You are the Bestower.” (38:35) Allah accepted this prayer and bestowed great powers upon him. It is important to have a balanced outlook on life, though, and not fall prey to materialism.
- Thank Allah in times of prosperity
In good times, we tend to take Allah’s blessings for granted, and not thank Him enough. It is important to express sincere gratitude to Him for all that we possess, through both words and deeds. Dawud and Sulayman were exceedingly thankful, and used to say, “Praise be to Allah, who has favored us over many of His believing servants.” (27:15) When Sulayman was able to decipher the speech of the ant, he smiled and thanked Allah for His favors upon him and his parents. Similarly, when the throne of the Queen of Saba (Sheba) was brought to him, he immediately expressed gratitude to Allah.
- Do not force anyone to believe
When Sulayman was informed that the prosperous people of Saba worshiped the sun, he exhibited his own strength and summoned the Queen of Saba to his palace. However, once she arrived, he neither forced her to worship Allah alone, nor disrespected her in the slightest; instead, he showed to her how Allah had blessed him and his kingdom, and appealed to her intellect by disguising her throne and enquiring if that was hers. The Queen of Saba thus believed in Allah – not out of fear of Sulayman but because she recognized Allah through His signs and munificence. Forcing anyone to believe in Allah is utterly pointless, as He says, “And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Would you then force the people to become believers?” (10:99)
- Grandeur can inspire faith
While the wonders of Allah’s creation clearly point to His unconstrained power, even the splendor and magnificence of worldly objects can help inspire faith in some people. Seeing a righteous person possess great blessings can convince people that Allah is the best provider, and encourage them to call upon Him alone. This is best exemplified by how the blessings bestowed upon Sulayman convinced the Queen of Saba of the truth, summed up as follows: “She was told, ‘Enter the palace.’ But when she saw it, she thought it was a body of water and uncovered her shins [to wade through]. He [Sulayman] said, ‘Indeed, it is a palace [whose floor is] made smooth with glass.’ She said, ‘My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, and I submit with Sulayman to Allah, Lord of the worlds.’” (27:44)
Next story: The Man of the Fish